Realism in Religion: A Pragmatist's Perspective

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Religion is basic to the human condition according to this philosophy of religion from a pragmatist's perspective. While pragmatist thinkers have often been cool to religious claims, Robert Cummings Neville holds that a theology of truth can emerge from this tradition. Standing against the typical nominalist view that regards religious claims as concepts or structures of language, Neville argues that there can be significant and well-tested hypotheses about what is true in religious matters. He brings this theology to bear on questions of God, divine creation, divine nature and will, and eternity. Using the work of pragmatists Peirce and Whitehead in particular to ground his philosophy of religion, Neville surveys a wide swath of twentieth-century theology and current trends, from Barth and Tillich to liberal and postliberal theology, systematic theology, concepts of God, and approaches to scripture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…this work is an ideal entry to Robert Neville’s wide-ranging thought as a whole … Most every page is rich in detail and enormously suggestive. The work is open enough in style to invite a reader to make corrections that are true to that person’s experiential contexts. Yet it is persuasive enough that most readers will find themselves carrying over much of value and importance from the text to their own understanding of religion and reality.” — American Journal of Theology and Philosophy

“…a provocative book, written from a Peircean perspective, and it puts the lie to the claim that metaphysical claims and pragmatism do not mix.” — International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

“This compilation of essays culled together from Neville’s accomplished career offers an avenue for acquainting readers with some of his basic insights and contributions to the fields of philosophy and theology … Frequently, such compilations fail to achieve a complementary whole, but nothing could be further from the case here. Divided into three parts—realism and truth, realism in pragmatism, and realism in religion and metaphysics—each part provides the occasion for the next.” — Religious Studies Review

“…Neville demonstrates great breadth of knowledge about both philosophy and theology in this work, and he develops his ideas in a creative and interesting way.” — CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781438428253
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2009
  • Pages: 279
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cummings Neville is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Boston University and the author and editor of many books, including Ritual and Deference: Extending Chinese Philosophy in a Comparative Context, also published by SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Pt. I Realism and Truth

1 Theologies of Identity and Truth: Legacies of Barth and Tillich 9

2 Truth in Theology 23

3 Realism and Contextualization 35

4 How to Read Scriptures for Religious Truth 57

5 Systematic Theology in a Global Public 73

Pt. II Realism in Pragmatism

6 A Peircean Theory of Religious Interpretation 89

7 The Contributions of Charles S. Peirce to Philosophy of Religion 109

8 Intuition: A Platonizing of Pragmatism 123

9 Whitehead and Pragmatism 153

10 Philosophy of Nature in American Theology 165

Pt. III Realism in Religion and Metaphysics

11 Concepts of God in Comparative Theology 177

12 Some Contemporary Theories of Divine Creation 191

13 Descartes and Leibniz on the Priority of Nature versus Will in God 203

14 The Metaphysical Sense in Which Life is Eternal 213

Notes 227

Index 251

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